Albert Lincoln Roker Jr. (born August 20, 1954) is an American weather presenter, journalist, television personality, and author. He is the current weather anchor on NBC's Today, and occasionally co-hosts 3rd Hour Today. He has an inactive American Meteorological Society Television Seal #238.
Roker was born in the borough of Queens, New York City, the son of Isabel, of Jamaican descent, and Albert Lincoln Roker Sr., a bus driver of Bahamian descent. He initially wanted to be a cartoonist. He was raised Catholic, his mother's faith, and graduated from Xavier High School in Manhattan. He attended the State University of New York at Oswego where he received a B.A. in communications in 1976.
Roker's career with NBC began in 1978 when he was hired at WKYC in Cleveland, then an NBC owned-and-operated station. After five years in Cleveland, Roker was promoted to the network's flagship outlet, WNBC-TV in his hometown. Roker returned to New York City in late 1983 as a weekend weathercaster, and within eight months became the station's regular weeknight weathercaster. Roker replaced 27-year WNBC-TV veteran Dr. Frank Field, who left the network over a contract dispute. From 1983 to 1996, Roker was the regular substitute for forecaster Joe Witte on the NBC News program NBC News at Sunrise, and from 1990 to 1995 filled in for Willard Scott, Bryant Gumbel and 1997 through 2000's for Matt Lauer on the Today Show. In 1995, he became the host of The Al Roker Show, a weekend talk show on CNBC.
Following an early marriage and divorce, Roker married WNBC producer Alice Bell in December 1984. He and Bell adopted daughter Courtney as an infant in 1987. Roker and Bell later divorced. Roker married TV journalist Deborah Roberts on September 16, 1995. They are the parents of daughter Leila (born November 17, 1998) and son Nicholas (born July 18, 2002).
In early 1996, Scott announced his semi-retirement from Today. On January 26, 1996, Roker received the regular weekday weather slot. Roker's studio remote forecasts, interviewing visitors outside and giving them some camera time, became a staple. Roker conducted more interviews and segments on the show over time. He continues the daily tradition of birthday wishes to centenarians that began with Scott.
On Thursday, June 7, 2001, Roker underwent a total knee arthoplasty (replacement, or "TKA") on his left knee.
In 2002, Roker underwent gastric bypass surgery to lose weight, which he said he did after failing at numerous diets. Eight months after the surgery, the New York Daily News reported he had dropped 100 pounds (45 kg) from his 320 lb (150 kg) figure. Roker wrote about his battle with weight loss in Never Goin' Back: Winning the Weight Loss Battle For Good, published in 2013.
In 2005, Roker reported from inside Hurricane Wilma. A popular viral video shows him swept off his feet by the fierce wind and clinging to the cameraman.
In 2005, he had a back operation. He had another knee replacement surgery in 2016.
In 2007, Roker became an official supporter of Ronald McDonald House Charities and is a member of their celebrity board, called the Friends of RMHC. He also served as the official spokesperson for Amtrak's National Train Day, which took place on May 10, 2008.
In 2008, Roker hosted NBC's Celebrity Family Feud. He hosted a week-long feature on Today profiling five game shows and their hosts in July 2016 titled "Game On Today". He has appeared as a celebrity player on both Merv Griffin game shows Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune.
Writing with Dick Lochte, Roker co-authored a series of murder mysteries beginning in 2009 that feature Billy Blessing, a celebrity chef turned amateur detective. The second book in the series, The Midnight Show Murders (2010), was nominated for a 2011 Nero Award. The Morning Show Murders, also published in 2010, was made into the 2018 movie on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries with Holly Robinson Peete in the lead role.
On November 7, 2010, Roker ran in the ING New York City Marathon.
In addition to his role as Today Show weather man and anchor, Roker co-hosted the third hour of Today called Today's Take, beginning November 12, 2012. Today's Take was cancelled in February 2017 for Megyn Kelly Today and aired its final episode on September 22, 2017. After Megyn Kelly Today was cancelled in 2018, Roker returned to co-host 3rd Hour Today.
In November 2014, Roker embarked on a "Rokerthon", in which he did a non-stop, 34-hour weather forecast on NBC, from 10:05 p.m. on November 12, 2014, until about 8:00 a.m. on November 14, 2014. The record-setting event was a fundraiser for the Crowdrise Campaign to benefit the military and USO. He held a "Rokerthon 2", this time reporting weather from all 50 states and Washington, D.C. during the week from November 6 to November 13, 2015, in support of Feeding America. From March 27 until March 31, 2017, he embarked on "Rokerthon 3", visiting colleges and setting a Guinness World Record at each one, such as the longest conga line on ice and largest human letter.
On November 23, 2015, Roker alleged racial discrimination and filed a complaint after he and his son attempted to hail a cab. The cab driver reportedly had passed them in order to pick up a white man on the next block. Roker stated on Twitter that a "cabbie picked up a white guy a block away. Wonder why Uber wins?" According to the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, the driver would either have to pay a $500 fine or possibly have his license suspended.
In 2016, the non-fiction book Been There, Done That: Family Wisdom for Modern Times, written by Roker and his wife Deborah Roberts, was published.
It was announced on September 5, 2018, that Roker would portray Joe in the Broadway musical Waitress for a six-week run from October 5 to November 11. He later returned to the show for a limited run from November 1 to 24, 2019.
In October 2018, Roker underwent emergency carpal tunnel surgery.
In September 2019, he had a hip replacement surgery.
In November 2020, he revealed he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in September 2020. He had a successful operation on November 9, and by November 17 he was at home recovering.
On May 10, 2021, Roker returned to his former stomping grounds in Cleveland to report on the city's reopening efforts following the COVID-19 pandemic, and while live on the Today Show, WKYC chief meteorologist Betsy Kling announced that the station had named the radar tower on top of the WKYC building the "Roker Tower" in his honor, and presented Roker a plaque to commemorate the occasion.
Roker has hosted NBC's coverage of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade since 1995 (with the exception of 2022), where he provides commentary along with some of his Today Show colleagues. He is known as the "uptown" host, whose main roles include cutting the ribbon during the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the start of the parade, and interviewing celebrities who are watching the parade from its start at 77th Street. Roker was unable to host the coverage of the parade in 2022 after recovering from blood clots that had led to being hospitalized.
In November 2022, after being absent from Today for a few days, Roker revealed he was in the hospital being treated for blood clots in his lungs. He returned to the show on January 6, 2023, revealing he also suffered from internal bleeding which necessitated surgery, two bleeding ulcers, colon resection surgery when part or all of the colon is removed, and gallbladder removal surgery. Roker credits his wife and NewYork-Presbyterian physicians and staff for saving his life.